Milk is often celebrated as the best choice for your health. In fact, marketing slogans such as “got milk” and “it does a body good” have become commonplace over the years. While milk is publicly celebrated, many people are also asking, “Is milk bad for your health?”
It can actually be incredibly harmful to your health. Cow milk and other dairy are connected to saturated fats, increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers, higher cholesterol, and even higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.
What happens to your body when you drink milk?
It is important to understand what is happening inside of your body when you drink milk. When consumed, animal products create an acidic environment in the bloodstream. In response, the body leeches calcium from the bones in order to neutralize the acid. This can mean that instead of increasing calcium in the body, milk is actually diminishing it.
One set of studies published by The BMJ analyzing 100,000 people for two decades suggested that milk can actually increase the rates of bone and hip fractures, which might explain why some of the highest rates of osteoporosis are found in the countries with the highest rates of dairy consumption.
What does milk do as you age?
Many times milk is promoted for younger children as a way to help them grow well. Milk is specifically designed to help a baby (whether calf or human) grow as fast as possible. Milk is packed with growth hormones and hormones such as estrogen. When you have stopped growing, milk can have a bad impact on your health.
Is there scientific evidence that milk can be harmful?
The association between milk and prostate cancer was proved by a study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer. These researchers dripped milk directly onto prostate cancer cells in a laboratory, which had the effect of turbo-charging the cancer progression in each of the 14 experiments they performed, fueling the cancer growth rate by more than 30 percent.
Moreover, a 2015 meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that high intakes of dairy products, including whole and low-fat milk, appear to increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer.
What drink should you replace milk with?
When replacing milk, choose water! When you don’t drink enough water you are more prone to bone fractures, heart disease, lung conditions, kidney stones, colon cancer, UTIs, and so much more!
Replace the daily glass of milk with water to see overall health benefits improve. Not only are you removing something that can be harmful to your health, but you’re also replacing it with something healing and beneficial to your body. You can’t beat water as the best drink choice for your health!
What about other drinks?
- Choose Plant-Based Milk - For some, a glass of milk is a huge part of their daily routine. If you are hoping to avoid the negative effects of milk, choose a plant-based milk option instead.
- Fruit and Vegetable Juices - If you are looking for an alternative to milk, choose fruit and vegetable juices. These will pack nutrients that are beneficial for your overall health. Have fun experimenting with different flavor combinations.
- Infused Water - Do you struggle to drink water? Adding sliced strawberries, blueberries, cucumber, mint, or other produce can be a simple way to add a bit of flavor without adding too much to your water. Make sure to clean and slice up your produce before adding it to your water. For added flavor, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and serve over ice.
What do you replace milk with for other needs?
Milk is a common staple in a variety of recipes. From soups to baked goods, milk is often added. So how do you make the move away from milk while still enjoying flavor-packed foods? It may seem difficult but there are some simple ways to move away from milk and keep your food delicious. Check out these simple tips for switching out milk in your daily life.
- What about cereal? - Do you enjoy a bowl of cereal for breakfast? You don’t have to give up your favorite breakfast cereal. Instead, you can replace cereals that contain dairy products with a dairy-free cereal option and use some plant-based milk to serve it.
- Soups, Stews, and Chili - Milk is often used in soups, steps, and even chili as a thickening agent. It rarely adds anything to the flavor and can actually make the food you are eating less beneficial for your health. If you are cooking, it can help to research substitutes for milk in your recipe. You can also choose a dairy-free soup, stew, or chili to cook.
- Baking - When baking, milk is often used as one of the key ingredients. Switching out milk with plant-based milk can be a simple way to make a recipe more beneficial to your overall health. If the recipe calls for a small amount of milk (less than ¼ a cup) you can replace milk with water without hurting the recipe.
- Pizza - Pizza is a family favorite in most households. However, for most people, the idea of pizza includes a great deal of cheese. Did you know that there are many different pizza options that don’t have cheese as a topping? Using a high-flavor sauce or pesto can remove the need for cheese on your pizza. You can replace it with a huge selection of vegetables and pile on the flavor!
For more guidance on choosing a plant-based milk, check out one of our recent podcasts: